What Rest Means in an Unsustainable Culture

I have been trying really hard. Trying really hard to have it all together.

We just moved into our new place, we’re trying to stay on a budget to get out of debt, I’m taking a whack at meal planning, and we’re both working.

We decided to make real cheeseburgers for dinner. My husband and I spend about an hour getting everything together, cutting and cleaning the lettuce, tomato, onion.

I get out his buns. I get out my gluten-free buns.

And we are exhausted and I am cranky, still adjusting to this faster-paced adult life that I thought would be much slower, much more freeing. We sit down to eat our hamburgers, and my hamburger bun, as soon as I pick it up, starts to fall apart in chunks. The bottom bun looks like it’s soaked in blood.

Great.

As I continue eating what was part of a lot of planning and preparation, I just get angry. I take small pieces of my bun and start throwing it down on my plate.

I am sick of it. Sick of it all.

And by that, I mean I’m sick of our unsustainable culture norms like a 40 hour work week, like having 4 hours of time between getting home from work and your bedtime, like an extensive commute.

Who can survive this? Who can be sustained through this stress and pace? Who can feel joy and feel alive when we live in a culture that continuously grinds you down to a nub? Peels you away into exhaustion?

My first thought goes to changing our culture, to rally for 20 hour work weeks and better highway systems.

My second thought goes to me, if I’d be better off trying to work from home or if I should stick to jobs I can walk or bike to. Maybe I need to get a bike. Maybe a bike or working from home will help me survive this life’s pace.

And now, I’m thinking only God can sustain me through the day. For real. I have forgotten what rest means and it doesn’t mean pairing yourself back to avoid stress and anxious situations. (Thanks God, for making me a highly sensitive person. where that’s all I want to do.) Rest means being okay in the thick of busyness, of activity, of movement. Rest means protecting your heart with God’s word from what the culture says is normal.

Because nothing in this world is truly normal. Everything often feels a bit off, not the way life was meant to be. But through rest, we can find that true normal, reset our balance, and go.

 

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